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Turned Out Nice Again

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

The DriveWrite Archives Topics:  Rolls Royce Silver Wraith

Turned Out Nice Again

Geoff Maxted
November 11, 2013

1950 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith 1950 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith
An immaculate 1950 Rolls-Royce originally owned by Lancastrian comedy actor and singer-songwriter, the ukulele-strumming George Formby, will go under the auction hammer on Saturday, November 30th at Historics at Brooklands in Surrey.

Formby, one of Britain’s biggest celebrity performers, was immensely active on stage and starred in no fewer than 20 films in a 14-year period during his heyday in the 30s and 40s, which allowed him an enviable lifestyle and luxury possessions.

The 1950 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith that caught Formby’s eye is believed to have been the 1950 Motor Show car at London’s Olympia for coachbuilder James Young, who created the car’s elegant, sweeping blue and black coachwork. A prolific buyer of motorcars, Formby owned no fewer than 26 Rolls-Royces and Bentleys over the years, parting with this Silver Wraith in 1952.

The car, the history of which is extensively documented, then enjoyed a rich ownership history as a much-loved family car for some twenty years. The Rolls-Royce factory conducted a complete engine change in the 1960s, before the Silver Wraith became the prize possession of a young stockbroker, who subsequently funded a complete restoration, inside and out, with bills exceeding £80,000. Frequently celebrated in Concours events, the car has since been fastidiously-maintained by Rolls-Royce specialists, and its overall condition is exemplary.

After nearly 40 years of ownership, the vendor has decided it is time to retire his driving gloves and entrust the stewardship of this lovely car to someone new. A hugely-detailed restoration with subsequent thorough maintenance will impress any collector - but the knowledge that the first owner was one of Britain's best loved entertainers in the twentieth century can only add to its appeal, and its value. Understandably, this regal, 63-year old is expected to attract significant interest at its auction estimate of £40,000-£48,000.

It will be auctioned alongside some 116 other fine classic motor cars and a fascinating array of automobilia at Historics at Brooklands winter auction venue, Mercedes-Benz World, near Weybridge, Surrey on Saturday 30th November, from 10.00am, with viewing on the previous day.

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